Archive for ◊ October, 2008 ◊

26 Oct 2008 To bleed or just dilute ?

One of the key questions a winemaker asks him/herself is whether you should do a bleed on the processed grapes before innoculating with yeast to start the primary fermentation.  A bleed is the removal of some of the liquid (mostly sugar and water) from popped/crushed grapes as part of a brix adjustment.  Generally, a bleed is used to lower the sugar amount / potential alcohol by bleeding some liquid out roughly 12 to 18 hours after processing while replacing it with the same volume of water.  If the grapes are very juicy (lots of water in them, you may want to remove some liquid to help increase the ratio of liquid to skins for better concentration.  This approach is done for varietals such as Merlot, Syrah and cult Cabernet Sauvignons.

I decided to bleed both Syrahs and Sangiovese to go for a better skin to liquid ratio after the water adjustment to lower the potential alcohol into the target range.  Normally, wineries will just pour out the bleed liquid.  The bleed was such a lovely violet color and smelled so good that I decided to try to make Rose or Violet in this case.  I kept the White Hawk fruit bleeds together (60% Syrah and 40% Sangiovese) and put the Thompson Syrah bleed in a different vessel.  The White Hawk Rose is coming along great with fantastic aromas and flavors over a slow cool fermentation; I am very happy with this so far!  The Thompson Syrah only started fermenting a few days ago, so not sure how it may turn out.  If both Roses are good and blend well, I will make one Rose that will only be available to Wine Club members.

I will keep you up to date on the Rose progress in future posts.  Note: I am tickled pink that Rose is working out as I hate to waste good juice.

26 Oct 2008 2008 harvest is coming to a close

2008 will probably not be considered a great vintage due to the rough growing season especially in Northern California — frost at budbreak / fruitset, early hot weather, little rain and a cool growing season.  The quality of each AVA will vary greatly with the level of vinicultural practices used.  The main issue was frost-protection in part of the Russian River valley, Napa Valley and the Sonoma Valley; Santa Barbara was skipped from much frost damage.  If frost damage happens early enough in the season, the vines will lose initial shoots and flowers but the vine will push a second set of shoots and flowers.  The second set is behind the first set by 3 to 5 weeks depending on condition, yet fruit from both sets will start to change color at the same time.  If the vineyard manager did not drop the second clusters before veriasian, it will be impossible to differentiate the unripe clusters when harvesting the fruit.  The resulting mix of ripe and unripe fruit would produce a terrible wine! 

The frost and cool growing season resulting in much lower yields than in past years.  We lost part of our Bohemian Pinot Noir allocation due to early frost damage to the vineyard.  If the vineyard management was good, the fruit could be quite nice especially from the Santa Barbara County area.

The Crush phase of the 2008 harvest is coming to a close for Lionheart Wines with the last fermentations starting to kick off today.  The Crush season started early at the end of August with an early high-temperature spike that forced some growers to bring their fruit in earlier than expected due to sugar levels and raisining of the berries.  The Crush is ending at a more gentle pace that the start which is always appreciated considering the long hours in the winery up to this point. :)

Initial thoughts on our 2008 Wines:

  • 2008 White Hawk vineyard, Sangiovese, Santa Barbara County — this wine is going to be spectacular!  The fermentation was well-behaved and cool resulting in fantastic aromas and flavors.  At the pressing, the wine could be smelled all over the winery with many people commenting on what was the wine and how do I get some!
  • 2008 White Hawk vineyard, Syrah, Santa Barbara County — the wine has fantastic fruit flavors/aromas with the distinctive pomegranite and orange peel notes.  The syrah was co-fermented with Viognier and Marsanne with some very nice complexity and enhanced aromatics.  The wine is going to be blended with Syrah from Thompson vineyard resulting in a syrah made in the 2006 style — big fruit, some jamminess, good structure and begging you to have it with lamb!
  • 2008 Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon — the first fermentation went well with the results not clear until pressing happens on Monday.  The second fermentation is kicking off today and should be basically done by next Sunday unless I decide to do extended maceration for mid-palate complexity.  The wines should be quite nice and done in the 2006 style when the final blend comes around.
  • 2008 The Angel’s Share, Saralee’s Vineyard, White Rhone blend — the Marsanne and Roussanne have just recently started to fermented coolly.  It will take several weeks for the fermentations to be completed but the racked juice tastes very good and already has great aromas.
  • 2008 Gap’s Crown, Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast – the wine is currently going through malolactic fermentation.  The overall quality will not be clear until malolactic fermentation is complete but initial indications are that it will be a good blending component for our Sonoma Coast blend. The wine is a co-ferment of clones 115 and 828 fruit.
  • 2008 Bohemian, Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley/Sonoma Coast –  the wine is currently going through malolactic fermentation.  The overall quality will not be clear until malo. fermentation is complete.  The wine is a co-ferment of 115 and 667 clones; the aromas are very nice and similar to aromas/flavors in our 2007 Pinot Noir.  I will be blending in some 777 clone wine after malolactic fermentation completes.

Unfortunately, I was not able to secure some of the McGinley Roussanne for this year.  I will be taking immediate steps to remeady that situation for next harvest.

25 Oct 2008 Speed tasting at the Wine Bloggers Conference

Yesterday, my wife, Jen, and I poured our 2007 McGinley Vineyard, Roussanne from Santa Barbara at the “Live blogging” event at the first annual Wine Bloggers Conference

The format was the following: each winemaker had 5 minutes to pour 1 wine, talk about the wine and answer any questions the bloggers at the table had, then 1 minute to move to the next table to repeat the process 16 times!  The format was a bit rushed but it made me focus on the important elements of the wine and the Lionheart brand.  It was effective at helping to get out the brand name and raise awareness of our wines.  Clearly, wine bloggers influence is on the rise as they reach more and more people everyday!  Maybe next year, this winemaker will be a blogger at the conference as well reporting on some lovely wines.

The Live Blogging event was a very good experience and looking forward to doing it again next year.   I would suggest a couple of things to the organizers for next year: 1) Give a bit more time for tasting, questions, etc; 2) Try to spread out the table in two rooms to help keep the noise level down as I nearly lost my voice having to shout for one and half hours to get anyone to hear me, 3) It might be a bit easier on the bloggers palates to start with whites in a staggered start, 4) cheese and/or bread should be provided to the bloggers to help clear their palates, 5) two glasses — one for white and one for red, and 6) allow time for bloggers to follow up and meet with the wineries before the next event on the schedule.

We got some fantastic comments/blog entries for people that tried the Roussanne.  The comments will be posted below with links to the appropriate blog entries:

Wine Dude Blog

Lionheart Wines 07 McGinley Vineyard Rousanne (wow… really?).   There going for overall balance (my kind of winemakers! :-) .   Stirred on the lees in nuetral French oak barrels.   The nose is OFF THE CHART!   Kiwi, tropical fruits, and flowers all over the place.   Totally killer.


Anything Wine Blog

2007 Lionheart McGinley Vinyeard Rousanne ($33) from Santa Barbara County. Nose - Key Lime pie, honey with hints of orange zest Taste – nice minerality and apple with citrus and tropical tree fruit. This is a great wine, a bit pricey, although if you get the club price it is $23. Wow the winemaker just said they are only prodcuing 275 cases of wine.


Caveman Wine Blog

Wine #9 – A Roussane 2007 McGinley Vineyards from Lionheart Wines. Not usually a fan, but this is nice. Bright apple and pear. Kiss of oak. First verture with wine. $30 retail. 275 cases total of everything. Wow! Their website is Blog

Lionheart Wines

Banana, peach and tropical aromas.   Nice crisp acidity and good roundness from malolactic fermentation–giving it a creamy mouth feel.  Nice long finish with a touch of minerality.

Wine: Lionheart Wines
Varietal: Roussanne
Vintage: 2007
Rating: 89
Price: $30


Lenndevours Blog

Lionheart Wines 2007 McGinley Vineyard Roussanne. Sweet lemon preserves. Some florality. Nice and creamy-pineapple mid-palate and flowers and citrus on the finish. Really nice. Made at crushpad. (4:06 p.m.)


Millennial Wino Blog

Wine 9

Lionheart Wines – what do we have here? A Roussane. I’ve never had a Roussane. It’s light and airy, not a wine that I would necessarily choose off a list of shelf. Think a hot day on the deck – nice and refreshing. It’s an old world grape – made in somewhat the old world style.- old world, not what you’d expect here in California. trpoical fruit, smooth without being flat, and has enough acidity to pair with foods – this would be great with 


My Daily Wine Blog

Lionheart Wines 2007 Roussanne
lemon curd and pineapple on the nose, some viscosity in the mouth, full bodied, ripe apricots in the mouth, light golden color, creamy with a good acid on the finish. $30


My Wine Education Blog


kevingerl:  2007 Lionheart Roussaane from McGinley Valley. A self taught winemaker


kevingerl:  On lies for 10 months in neutral french oak with ml fermentation. Recco with grilled fish/pork or Hawaiian pizza. Salt from ham works well with the wine. This is nice tart without a lot of acid. I think it’s a drink soon but overall :->



kevingerl:  275 cases total across 4 different grape wines


Ablegrape Blog

2007 Roussanne, Lionheart Wines. M, youthful, peach, floral, hints of wax and lychee, and a creamy note (100% malo, says winemaker). Pretty nose. Full bodied, with medium-high acidity, medium-plus alcohol, creamy mouthfeel, and a pleasantly long, grapefruity finish. Dig this. The winemaker, Leon Glover, said he’s going for a “distinctive, bold” wine, and I’d say he succeeded.


Dr. Xeno’s Wine Blog

6.  2007 Lionheart Wines Santa Barbara County McGinley Vineyard Roussane

OK.  Only 26 cases…get some now!!
C: lighter golden straw

N: Great pear and peach, followed by some wonderful pineapple and blossoms of florals. Some creaminess and lemon custard here too.

P: Full-bodied with intense pineapple flavors that seem sweet and yet the wine finishes nicely crisp with a little cream underneath and further tropical fruit from the nose.  Very good!

Lionheart 2007 Roussanne… tastes like a chick wine (ha!)… very summer-y, nice, poolside by the bottle good times.. tropical – key lime!



drXeNo YO YO! Lion heart! mmmmmm #ttl about 16 hours ago from twhirl in reply to drXeNo


@Oenophilus YO YO! Whazzup! Where you be at! #wbc about 16 hours ago from twhirl in reply to Oenophilus


275 Cases! Out of Crushpad. I heart @crushpad!!!! #ttl about 16 hours ago from twhirl


LIonheart roussane has a very carmellly characteristic. Creamy custard. mmmmm #wbc about 16 hours ago from twhirl


2007 Lionheart Rousanne lemon, tropical fruit…guava? peach #wbc about 16 hours ago from twhirl



The Wine Case Blog

Lionheart Wines

2007 McGinley Vineyard Roussanne from Santa Barbara County, clocking in at 14,47% alcohol. Nice peachy, exotic aromas, with a touch of almonds. Nice mouthful, with decent acidity holding it together well. Little bitterness on the back end – from the maceration on the skins, says the winemaker. I like it. 10 months in French Oak. I’ve found many California Roussannes to go overboard, but this holds itself together well, and I think it could even age for a few years, like the best from the Rhône. Well-done.


Vine Views by Jared Skolnick

2007 Lionheart Wines McGinley Vineyards Rousanne ($30).  Winemaker is a self-taught chef and winemaker.  I would absolutely mistake this for a Viognier in a blind tasting (asssuming I was even close that day!)  The floral notes on the nose are more indicative of the Rousanne, but the fruit notes are very much like Viognier.  The palate is well banaced, but is a little light on acid.  The finish is a bit flat without the crisp acids.


Vineyard Adventures Blog

*Lionheart Wines 100% Rousanne – Tropical fruit – pineapple, good acidity, light handed oak, on lees for 10 months. Best pairing according to the winery is hawaiian pizza. I would tend to agree. The flavors match with the pineapple and the acidity is strong enough to be cleansing to the palate. $30


What a Trip Blog – Nancy D Brown 

Lionheart Wines  Leon C. Glover, owner/winemaker is sharing his 2007 Roussanne from Santa Barbara County.  If you like hawaiian style pizza, Glover said, “it sounds kind of stange, but it’s really a good match.” You can purchase the wine, which retails for $30, on-line at


Winecast Blog

lionheart roussanne 2007 – white pear/mandarin orange/honey aromas… full, rich pineapple fruit with lychee on the finish; very good #wbc about 17 hours ago from web  (go back to it in a few days) 


Loves Wine Blog

4:16 Pacific time. 45 mins into the “live blogging” I’m on.
Lionheart Roussane — a white crisp wine. Pale straw. Pleasing amount of fruit, Well balanced, nothing overwhelms. Sells for about $30. Clean fresh tart fruit on the nose. I would enjoy this, esp. in warm weather, 


Wine Peeps Blog
2007 Lionheart Wines McGinley Vineyard Roussanne (
Santa Barbara County, California): Lime, pear, and floral aromas. Pineapple and lemon also come through on the palate. Crisp acidity and a bit creamy. Good mouthfeel. Smooth finish. Very refreshing.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
Price: $30


Wine Blog

Lionheart Wine 2007 – This is a 100% Roussane with lots of varietal character – grilled pineapple, melon, and a little apple in the nose. In the mouth, this is a full bodied wine. Twenty months on the lees give this Rhone style wine an added level of complexity. It seems a little overdone, but we liked it anyway. ($30) 3.5-stars


Wine Scholarship Blog

Long break for some reason there. Now we have lioneart wines with a 2007 Roussanne from Santa Barbara County. This has a nice balance between fruit and spice. I get some nutmeg here. The fruit is pretty tropical here, pineapple and stuff like that. I can’t really write anymore about this. They’re saying this is the last wine and I’m thankful.


Winesleuth’s Weblog

Lionheart wine ‘07 Roussane- the winemakers said that they were looking to make a balanced wine, higher in acidity then most, 100 percent roussane from Santa Barbera County, nose of orange blossom, tropical fruits, on the lees, lovely fruit upfront, tropical pineapple, creamy, bit of minerality, caramilized pineapple, lovely, great example of white Rhone vatietal, slightly nutty.

20 Oct 2008 Malbec Madness!
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As part of a birthday party celebration for a wonderful friend, Mary Pat, we did a tasting of 7 Malbecs brought by Mary Pat’s husband, Wolfgang.  The 7 Malbecs were:

1) 2007 Achaval Ferrer, Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina ($18.99)
2) 2006 Bodega Catena Zapata, Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina ($16.65)
3) 2007 Elsa Bianchi, Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina ($7.99)
4) 2005 Belasco De Baquedano, Llama, old vine Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina ($11.99)
5) 2005 Famiglia Bianchi, Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina ($16.00)
6) 2007 Dominio Del Plata, Crios De Susana Balbo, Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina ($12.99)
7) 2006 Dominio Del Plata, Ben Marco, Malbec, Mendoz, Argentina ($17.99)

The wines were tasted blind accompanied with a Thanksgiving style feast of turkey with a light mole sauce, Cornish game hens, spicy zinfandel cranberry sauce, roasted root vegetables, a green salad (ruby grapefruit, avocado, pomegranite seeds and mixed greens).  There were 15 people tasting the wine; as you might expected there was no clear #1 selection of the wine.

I ranked the wines in the following order of favorite to least:
#4, #2, #6, #5, #7, #1 and #3.

The remarkable thing about the tasting was how close all the wines were to each other in taste profiles and mouthfeel.  #4, #2, #6, #5, and #7 had fairly equal concentration and mouthfeel with #1.  #3 was the only wine that had a noticable drop in mouth feel from the others.  The bright fruit flavors of the 2007 changed only slightly when compared to the 2005. 

Malbec from Argentina is fantastic value if you are looking for an easy drinking bold red that goes well with spicy meat dishes or game birds.  The tannic structure of Argentinian Malbec is much softer than Malbec from the Cahors region of France.  The winemaking style in Argentina is clearly being geared for people who enjoy ‘New World’ styled wines — fruit forward, soft tannins and moderate acidity.  If you are looking for a hardier version of Malbec, try a well aged Cahors and you will not be disappointed at all!

11 Oct 2008 Welcome to The Grapevine blog!
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My name is Leon Glover.   I am the winemaker and owner of Lionheart Wines (  I have decided to start a blog about the wine industry, wine making, wine and food pairing and basically anything wine related.  I will try to post two blog entries every week.

A bit of background on myself.  My background is in software development, project management, venture capital and wine collecting.  I have been teaching myself about wine from an information and production perspective.  I completed the WSET Diploma course last month; it requires detailed knowledge of dry wines, sparkling wine, fortified wines, spirits, wine production and the business of wine and spirits.  The WSET diploma requires detailed tasting analysis of wines, sparklers and spirits.  I used to have a “California” palate but now have a much greater appreciation for all the wines of the world with a strong desire to know more about all of them!

As a winemaker, I strive for making wines that pair well with food.  The wines must be very balanced in acidity, alcohol, tannin and flavor intensity while having enough acidity to pair well with foods.  I do not produce “cocktail” wine as most of California does due to the high natural sugars and low acidity of grapes left to hang as long as possible on the vine.  My wines also strive to be varietally correct aka a Pinot Noir will not be made to a Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon. 

Lionheart Wines had a large release party this summer at ‘The Mane Event’ held at Crushpad, Inc. in San Francisco, Ca.  We released the following wines:

We also had barrel samples for futures sales: